HMA v SEAN SCOTT ORMAN

At the High Court in Edinburgh on 27 February 2015, Lady Wolffe imposed an extended sentence of seven years imprisonment on Sean Orman, after the accused pled guilty to assault and robbery.

On sentencing, Lady Wolffe made the following statement in court:

“Sean Scott Orman, you have pled guilty to three charges of assault and robbery. Each of these was committed against an employee in a bookmaker’s premises and on each occasion you presented a knife. On two of these occasions you uttered threats and on the third occasion the victim was a female. Each of these assaults and robberies must have been terrifying for your victim. On each occasion you secured a sum of money of between about £400 and £900. Each of these crimes was aggravated by the fact of having been committed while you were on bail. The three crimes were committed within the space of a fortnight.

I have also had regard to the criminal justice social work report. It records that you are capable of harmful behaviour of a violent nature and that you have little appreciation of the consequences of your actions. It suggests that you show remorse but it also notes you have a very poor record of complying with court orders and community disposals. You are assessed as posing a high risk of further offending.

I have also considered the terms of the supplementary report, which addresses itself to the risks you pose and the appropriateness of an extended sentence. It confirms that you have a poor response to non-custodial disposals. It also notes that if you fail to engage with standard prison programmes, then the level of risk you pose on release will be undiminished. This underscores the importance of an extended sentence in managing that risk. It has been accepted on your behalf today that the threshold for imposition of an extended sentence has been met and, indeed, would be beneficial to you.

I have taken into account all that has been said on your behalf. I have particular regard to your personal circumstances. You are a 24-year-old single man who has had a longstanding drug problem. You have failed to use the DTTOs (drug treatment and testing orders) offered to you in the past. As a consequence of your actions your relationship with your partner has ended and you have lost contact with your son. You now wish to take advantage of programmes to address your drug addictions.

I have also had regard to your previous convictions. These are very numerous and disclose a pattern of frequent offending for a range of offences, including many for crimes of dishonesty, breaches of court orders and bail, public disorder, road traffic and drugs offences. It is concerning to note that you have three previous convictions for assaults, two of which were doubly  aggravated by the use of a knife and for being committed while on bail – as is the case with the three charges to which you have now pled guilty. One of these previous convictions was also in the High Court, where you again find yourself today.

I have considered whether a custodial sentence is appropriate. In the light of the whole circumstances, I am satisfied that in your case, there is no alternative disposal to one of imprisonment. You have disregarded or failed to comply with a large number of previous non-custodial disposals. The crimes of which you have been convicted are serious and have the features I have already described. These were premeditated reckless attacks committed by a person who has committed violent conduct in the past. Modern society will not tolerate the kind of casual random violence and threats you engaged in against employees, who should expect to be safe in their own places of employment.

Given that all three of these crimes were committed within the space of a fortnight, I will impose a single cumulative sentence. Had I sentenced these individually, the overall period of imprisonment in such a sentence would have been longer.

However, I have also considered the continuing risk you may pose to the public upon your release. I have already noted the terms of the supplementary criminal justice social work report, and its support for an extended sentence as a way to manage the clear risk you pose. In the light of all of the information before me, I am of the view that an extended sentence is essential to manage the high risk that you pose upon release into the community.

Having regard to the nature of the crimes to which you have pled guilty, your past record and what has been said on your behalf, the extended sentence I impose is one of seven years. The custodial element of this is five years. But for the early plea the custodial part of the sentence would have been seven and a half years, of which six months is attributable to the bail aggravation. The extended part of the sentence is two years.

The sentence will run consecutive to, and following on from, the sentence you are serving in respect of a different matter. The sentence I impose will take into account the 55 days you were held on remand in respect of this offence.

I order that on your release from custody you will be under the supervision of the local authority for a period of two years. During that period after your release from custody, you will report to the supervising officer allocated to supervise you in a manner and at intervals specified by him or her. You will keep your supervising officer advised of your current address and you will comply with any other requirement your supervising officer may reasonably require.

If you breach the order you are liable to be brought back to court and returned to custody for all or any part of a period equal to that between the date of your first breach of the order and the date when your supervision would expire.

It is noted that you have adequate levels of literacy and numeracy, and that you obtained standard grades in Maths and English. Earlier in your youth, you had periods of employment. You have completed certain training courses while serving previous custodial sentences. You are not without skills and the potential to develop them. You should use the period of your imprisonment to better yourself and to acquire the skills to make yourself socially useful.

I sincerely hope that you will translate the desire for change you say you have into a real and lasting change in your behaviour and that you will be a productive member of society upon your eventual release.”